The Telegraph newspaper has today published news that two independent pregnancy counselling centres in the UK have provided misinformation on abortion, falsely claiming that it can increase risk of breast cancer and infertility. Brook’s own in-depth investigation of 33 ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ has found that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Between 2012 and 2014 mystery shoppers visited just under a quarter of the 135 ‘crisis pregnancy centres’ (CPCs) identified by our project Education For Choice. They found the majority to be offering unacceptably biased and misleading information about pregnancy and abortion.
Tactics range from subtly weighting the information they offer against abortion to giving overtly incorrect information, and providing ultrasound scans with the express intention of persuading a woman to continue with her pregnancy. (Sample quotes from these visits are given below). Worryingly, the main provider of CPCs in the UK is linked to on the NHS Choices website as a recommended source of pregnancy counselling.
Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Brook said:
"Young people should be offered unbiased and accurate information about healthcare, including abortion, so they can make up their own minds without undue outside pressure. It is simply immoral and unacceptable to masquerade as a service that helps clients make decisions through exploring choices, when the reality is – as this report based on young women's experiences shows – at some CPCs you will get a mixture of misinformation, coercion and fright tactics.”
For media enquiries please contact Brook’s press office on 020 7284 6046
Notes to editors
The majority of centres mystery shopped were found to be giving misleading information on the mental and physical health outcomes of abortion, and/or using inappropriate language and emotional manipulation when it came to discussing pregnancy options.
“The only other thing that has been reported with quite strong evidence is the increase in the possibility of breast cancer following termination of pregnancy” Oxford Care Centre (LIFE)
“There’s more risk of infertility from termination that there is from giving birth...some reports will say as low as 1% chance of infertility from termination and some will say as high as 25%” Central London Women’s Centre (Good Counsel Network)
“I do believe that God gives the gift of a baby” Reading Lifeline (Care Confidential)
“The other thing with abortion is the psychological effect of post abortion trauma.. of... the grieving that you lost, ‘cause you know at the moment for some girls it seems like a very quick option, you know and it’s a half day you go in, you’re out but you are left with the emotional turmoil of what you’ve done” Stillwaters Pregnancy Crisis Centre (Care Confidential)
About Education For Choice (EFC)
Education For Choice (EFC) is a project within Brook dedicated to ensuring that young people can make and act on their own, informed choices about pregnancy. EFC believes that young people are entitled to accurate, evidence-based information and good quality, non-directive support around pregnancy and abortion.
020 7284 6056
For media enquiries please contact Brook's press office on 07789 682831 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Brook believes that young people should have access to great sexual health services and wellbeing support.
Brook provides free and confidential sexual health information, contraception, pregnancy testing, advice and counselling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and education programmes, reaching nearly 235,000 young people nationwide every year.
Read our Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and learn more about the difference we make in our latest Success Report.